Category: Fiction

Book 20: The Gray Man

The Hunter Gets Hunted

The Hunter Gets Hunted

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ Audible gets a prize for this one. This was one of their books of the week, or some such promotion, and I got it free. Yep. It’s been in my library for some time, but I just never thought to listen to it. I mean, how good could a “freebie” be? The ratings were good, but I just sort of ignored it, until last week. We were on a big, long road trip and finished our book. So, I was flipping through what I had in my library, looking specifically for something my husband might enjoy (that means it has to have some action!) and decided we should give it a go.

Good move! We both enjoyed this book about a renowned assassin who goes from hunter to hunted in a weird twist of fate. It becomes a story of survival, almost in a Jason Bourne sense, and kept us entertained the whole way through. We both agreed on the 4 star rating and plan to read the other Gray Man books. The author, Mark Greany, has written several books with Tom Clancy, which I find very interesting. Give it a try.

Book 17: Reconstructing Amelia

Worth a Read

Worth a Read

♦ ♦ ♦ 1/2 Mean people suck. Seriously, there are too many crazy, selfish people in this world. It’s hard enough, life in general, don’t you think? The truth is though, that these things do happen. We hear about bullying in all forms, at all ages, and we think “Oh my gosh, how terrible! What’s wrong with those people?” But it’s too late. This book addresses a lot of life lessons and gives it to you right in the gut. A friend asked me while I was reading it how I liked it, and my reply was, “there’s a lot of dysfunction going on.” Well, that flippant reply was truthful, accurate, but a little harsh. People do the best the can, with what they have, and sometimes, we learn our lessons too late. Worth a read.

Book 16: The Cold, Cold Ground

Definitely worth a read!

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ This one hits close to home for me because my inlaws live in Northern Ireland. I’ve heard stories, but as an American, it’s really hard to understand the conflict, The Troubles as they call it. I’ve always loved books based in Ireland, always, even before I married an Irishman. We read about a “Peeler” (a cop) who is Irish Catholic, which traditionally, is left to the Prods and the English. Because he’s a Catholic, he’s a legitimate target for the IRA and other groups. In fact, he’s everybody’s target, but that won’t stop him from solving his cases. From what I understand, the scenes seem pretty real, like how it really was in those dark days.

If you’re interested in Ireland, The Troubles and enjoy a good cop book, pick this one. Or, better yet, listen to it via the Audio version. The Irish born narrator Gerrard Doyle brings this one to life. The good news is that there are at least two more books to read in The Troubles series. Thanks Adrian McKinty!

 

Book 15: You’re Next

A Thriller With a Bit of Everything

♦ ♦ ♦ 1/2 It’s been awhile since I’ve listened to a “thriller” type book. I probably would have said that I was pretty indifferent to the story, but then suddenly found myself pulled deeper and deeper into the book. Because I was listening, I’d sit in the parking lot a few extra minutes wherever I was going to get to a spot where I felt like I could turn the car, and thus my book, off. Guess that’s the sign of a good book! For most of the story, you’ve no idea who the bad guys are, or why they are. Then, once it’s clear… hang on to your hat. Hide your kids!

Book 14: The Invention of Wings

A Great Book

A Great Book

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ Wow. I just grabbed this one because of its ratings, and it did not disappoint. Since I finished this, I’ve been thinking, even having vivid dreams, about it. Slavery, a terrible blight on our National History, was brutal and to me, unthinkable. I often imagine what it would have been like to have been alive and a part of it — on either side. Of course, one side is obviously worse than the other, but is it? What if you were born into a family of slave holders? What if you knew, even as a small child, that it was absolutely wrong, but could do nothing to change it then? In this tale, we see two sides of one coin. I love the characters, bold and strong, even the ones I despised. I loved listening to the author’s note at the end about how she came to write about these people, and which parts were fictionalized and which were told as close to the history as possible. Fascinating and well worth a read or listen. No wonder it was an Oprah’s book club pick.

Book 13: Breaking Point

♦ ♦ ♦ Raise your hand if you know what a game warden is? Raise your hand if you’ve ever met one. This book took me back to my days living on a ranch in Texas. Although this story takes place in Wyoming, I’ve met a game warden or two, and in fact, I feel like I’ve met most of the characters in the story. I enjoyed the “outside” elements of the tale, and of the attachment folks have to the land, family and the responsibility we have for our wildlife and natural resources. I loved how, though I’ve not been to Wyoming, I could see the whole thing; the beautiful mountains, the ranch, the horses and the river. I really grew attached to the characters and felt like the plot moved quickly enough with the right amount of detail. Really enjoyed this one! Pick it up and take a break to the wilds of a small Wyoming community, where you’ll find all the same quandaries of big city life: jealousy, injustice, murder, indifference, love, loyalty and mystery.

Book 11: The Rosie Project

A Really Good Read

♦♦♦♦ My friend Lisa recommended this one. It’s been in my wishlist for awhile, but with her encouragement, I downloaded and jumped right in. At first I thought, “eh, it’s interesting, but why all the rave reviews?” As I got further into the story, I realized that I really, really liked the characters. I was quietly engaged and invested in their stories.

That’s what makes me give it a four rating, rather than a three. It’s not action packed, but it’s lovely in an every-day-sort-of-real sense. Asberger’s Syndrome and Autism seem to be on the rise not only in our population, but, rightly so, in our literature. There are some eye-opening statistics about the Autism spectrum, like 1 in 42 boys are affected by some form of Autism and are 5 times as likely as girls to be affected. With these numbers, I’m happy to see books like this one, with characters depicted as real and lovable, quirks, differences and all, who fall into the category. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up! I always find nuggets of insight to hold onto that are so relevant in my life.

I’ve read two other books with great characters who seem to fall under the Autism spectrum: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie,  and the Curious Incident of the Dog In the Nighttime.

Book 9: Ruby Red

The Vodka’s good, but the book… Meh

♦♦ 1/2 I’ll admit that the first thing that popped into my head when I read the title was a very delicious (my all time favorite) vodka called, Deep Eddy Ruby Red. She’s a cruel mistress, this ruby. Alas, though, it might have had a bearing on me deciding to start this trilogy.

While I was gathering my thoughts on this one, I began to wonder if it was a “young adult” type book because the whole thing was a bit unsophisticated and the characters clearly innocent. Mind you, if the story’s good enough you don’t always care, but upon further investigation, I realized that I nailed it. Interesting concept about a family who has the time travel gene, but frankly, it’s just not that great. The end is a big cliff hanging screamer, “you’ll find out in the next book!” This one made me shrug and say, “Meh” I’m not sure I care enough to read the next one, “Emerald Green.” Though, well, I love the color green. Maybe picking books based on Vodka and colors isn’t the best choice?

Book 8: The Likeness

Another Good One in the Dublin Murder Series

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ They say that everybody has a double, but how often do people ever see their spittin’ image? How often do people investigate the murder of their unrelated twin? Better yet, how bout go under cover as that person? Well, of course, this whole scenario is completely ridiculous when it comes to real possibility, but this is fiction! So, with that out of the way, what if?

I’ve so enjoyed the Dublin Murder Series of books, and this was no exception. I enjoy Tana French’s writing wholeheartedly, and Heather O’Neill’s narration on this audio book was great. Her Irish accent makes me happy, and makes it feel authentic. I’ve read the first 4 in this series, and I’ve loved all of them. I keep trying to convince my friends to read them, but so far as I know, nobody has.

Anyone out there in the blog-sphere read Tana French? Am I all alone?

Book 5: Gregor The Overlander

A Good One for the Whole Family

A Good One for the Whole Family

♦ ♦ ♦ Happily surprised by this one. What does that say about me? Not sure because according to Amazon, the age level for this series is 8-12. That actually makes me pretty happy because that means there’s some decent fiction out there for young readers. No better way to get them hooked on reading than by giving them decent books! My son liked it, and since it was in my Audible library from him, I thought I’d give it a listen.

Of course, some parts of my adult brain noted when the writing was a bit simple, but quite honestly, it was an imaginative  journey down the vent shaft in the laundry room to the underworld. Gregor gets the surprise of his life, and protects his baby sister quite gallantly. Good boy… and well, sometimes you just have to save the world, underworld or not! This would be a good one for the whole family to listen to together! Road trip!